London, Jun 27 (EFE).- Andy Murray overcame an early stumble to beat James Duckworth 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 on Monday and advance to the second round at Wimbledon.
Though he is only ranked 52nd in the world, the 35-year-old Scot champion remains a crowd favorite and tournament organizers gave the two-time Wimbledon champion his preferred evening time slot on Centre Court at the All England Club.
Returning from the abdominal injury he suffered earlier this month in the final of the Stuttgart Open, Murray started tentatively against the 74th-ranked Australian.
The score was 4-4 when Duckworth broke Murray’s serve and went on to take the set, but the Briton was up two sets to one by the time the roof was closed and the lights turned on at his opponent’s request.
Duckworth was level with Murray at 4-4 in the fourth set before double-faulting twice, opening the door for the local favorite to serve out for the victory.
Next up for Murray will be John Isner of the United States, winner in five sets over Frenchman Enzo Couacaud. The Scot has won each of his eight previous matches against the American.
Opening day also saw world No. 3 Novak Djokovic survive a second set scare to defeat South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
In the absence of world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev – banned after the All England Club’s ruling not to allow Russian or Belarusian players to take part in response to the war in Ukraine – the defending champion is the heavy favorite to claim his fourth successive Wimbledon title.
Djokovic got off to a slow start, but eventually settled into the match to take the first set after a 5-game winning streak.
Kwon, world No. 81, was unfazed, however, and hit back to win the second frame 6-3.
The Serb crucially survived a breakpoint in the third set before retaking the lead, and only needed one break of serve in the fourth frame to confirm the victory.
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, Norway’s Casper Ruud survived two tie breaks to defeat Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6 (1), 7-6 (9), 6-2.
Carlos Alcaraz, the fifth-seeded Spanish teenager, survived a scare against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.
Alcaraz, widely tipped to succeed compatriot Rafael Nadal as the King of Clay, struggled to assert himself on the grass at the All England Club against the unseeded German.
The youngster eventually prevailed 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4. EFE msg/ks/dr